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Is Atlanta's dab dance the bane of the NFL?

Everybody in the NFL is doing the dab.

Hardly a Sunday goes by without breathless reports of players doing the dab dance -- a move that looks like you are wiping your brow or sneezing in your elbow depending on how well you do it -- which originated in Atlanta's hip hop community.

But last week the move was criticized by a fan and yesterday it drew a penalty when Terrance Williams of the Dallas Cowboys caught a 31-yard touchdown against the Miami Dolphins, did the dab thing and got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

All the sports dabbing started with Cam Newton, the Carolina Panther who hails from Atlanta and has been doing the dab since the season started. Newton says it's just a celebratory dance (suggested by his younger brother) and he doesn't plan to stop doing it.

Last week, his end-of-the game dance angered members of the losing team, the Tennessee Titans. The move also drew criticism when a football fan posted an open letter.

But that hasn't stopped the fever.

This Sunday, Arizona Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro also got in on the action:

Coaches are doing it too and not just in the NFL. Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney dabbed it out earlier this month after his team won against Florida State. And Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera did it yesterday, when his team won against the Washington Redskins.

While many have credited the dance to Atlanta-based hip hop group Migos, the move has been around Atlanta neighborhoods for several years.

Related: Migos’ ‘Fight Night’ makes awkward appearance during NFL pre-game

Related: More charges for Migos rapper ‘Offset’ after fight in jail

Back then, three to four years ago, it just wasn't called dabbing, said East Atlanta rapper Lil Donald (aka Lil DonLoyal).

"It started in Atlanta, everybody was doing it in the club, but it's not like somebody was like 'This is my dance.' It's an Atlanta creation," he said.

Migos helped the dance go mainstream, but Jose Guapo, Lil Donald and other artists were doing it too, as was everyone else across the metro area. Once the dance got a name, it turned into a movement. Then the many NFL players who have ties to Atlanta, turned it into a football movement.

Lil Donald just signed with Epic Records and is promoting his single, "Start My Day" (with a dab) , so he knows what he is talking about. He doesn't think the NFL should have a problem with players doing a little dabbing.

"They shouldn't criticize it because it is a positive thing. When you are accomplishing something, you do a dab. We tell the student who is getting bullied to dab on a bully," he said.  "A dab is a celebration."

Want to give it a try? Here are step-by-step instructions from Lil Donald on how to dab:

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About the Author

Nedra Rhone has been a features reporter with the AJC for 10 years. She’s written about everything from fashion to food to news.